Exactly when will Canada start getting COVID vaccine? PM's comments spark furor

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Canada was late to the COVID-19 vaccine sweepstakes, while other countries signed deals early.

Ford said he will have more to say Friday about the province's plan to roll out a vaccine when it is available.

Njoo conceded there will be logistical difficulties in getting vaccines out to all Canadians, and said the Public Health Agency of Canada is working closely with the Canadian Armed Forces on a distribution plan.

Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc tells Power & Politics that, contingent on regulatory approval, Canada will start to receive coronavirus vaccine doses in January 2021.

It is supposed to be able to produce two million doses a month before the end of 2021.

There is some truth to this - a Bloomberg ranking of countries suggested that Canada is fifth in the world in terms of COVID vaccine access. When are we getting the vaccine, what are we getting cause there's different types, and how much are we getting.

They peppered Health Minister Patty Hajdu with questions about it at a committee hearing in the House of Commons Thursday night, including about Canada's own vaccine production capacity, details of the negotiations to get the Can-Sino vaccine from China which fell apart in the summer, and when Health Canada first learned the Pfizer vaccine needed specialty freezers to keep it at temperatures below -70C.

The government has not released any of its contracts with vaccine manufacturers, so we have no idea where Canada is in the order of distribution.

But none are produced in Canada, which doesn't have a domestic capacity, something that Trudeau acknowledged would delay the initial vaccine rollout.

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Officials said Canada has a "pre-positioning mechanism" in place that would allow the country to import vaccine doses even before they're approved by Health Canada, to be stored in a central location pending authorization.

Pfizer reported preliminary results from its clinical trials earlier this month, claiming their genetics-based vaccine is 94.5 per cent effective. But the manufacturing processes used for the two is so completely different.

The AstraZeneca vaccine was among the last Canada ordered, placing an order for 20 million doses in late September, well after several other countries.

But Trudeau has come under fire from people like Amir Attaran, a law and medicine professor at the University of Ottawa, who has pointed out that other countries including Australia, Brazil, Russia, Mexico, Argentina and India struck licensing agreements with vaccine producer AstraZeneca to produce the vaccine in their countries, even before it was proven to work.

Before Ford's daily press conference, federal health officials confirmed that agreements had been reached to procure up to 194 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, with the option to purchase an additional 220 million more. "Do we have the ability to do this and when are Canadians going to get these vaccines?" she asked Trudeau.

He said the premiers would also be briefed on the contracts that the federal government has signed and when they can expect those vaccines to arrive in their provinces.

"I think we can withstand being behind the Americans and the Germans".

"The manufacturing aspect maybe should have been a primary consideration, but it wouldn't have made any difference, because we have no manufacturing capacity for any of them".

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